We are increasingly asked by housing providers to help them gain a holistic view of their property portfolios. They need social and sustainability metrics alongside the financial NPV scores to achieve the objective of reporting both financial and social returns across their business and as the saying goes, “what gets measured, gets done”.
Having a combination of financial and social scores enables the housing provider to better know and understand their portfolio. They can investigate and plan their strategic and tactical investment responses and act accordingly. For example, an area with a low sustainability score might be experiencing low tenant demand alongside high void rates and above-average turnover. Resident surveys may indicate an underlying desire to live in the area, but hampered by a lack of child-friendly outdoor spaces. The housing provider can therefore invest in local amenities or youth-focused social programmes to help alleviate this situation. This will improve the sustainability of the local area alongside making use of and earning rent from previously void properties.
Data categories can be broadly split into internal and external data. Internal sources will usually be at the unit or scheme level, and dependent on the strategy and focus of the organisation. External sources may be limited to ‘lower super output area’ if from an official government source, although postcode- or unit-level data may be available from commercial providers.
The data sets available on your property portfolio are wide and varied, from internal system-generated property data and commercial data sets to publicly-published data sets. The skill is in processing that data so that it’s meaningful to the person who receives it and turns it into relevant information. A clear understanding of the priorities of your organisation will allow the most useful data to be selected and turned into insights to improve the financial and social value for your organisation and its property portfolio.
Rowley Maggs is a director of SDS.